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Advaita, Viśiśtādvaita and Dvaita – The three flavors of Vēdānta śāstra

Course content:

This course focuses on the conceptual overview of the three “Schools of Vedantic Thought”: Advaita, Dvaita and Visistadvaita known as “mata-traya”. It covers the whole range of possibilities, with reference to the relationship between the three main entities in question i.e., Jiva (living beings), Jada (matter) and Ishwara (Lord) as being one and the same i.e., non-dual, (abheda), or fundamentally and irreconcilably different (bheda) or something in-between (visista). All the other schools of thought within Hindu thought, end up being some variation or combination of these three fundamental perspectives.

This is an advanced level course. however, fundamental concepts of Advaita, Visistadvaita and Dvaita will be covered in reasonable detail. Basic level knowledge of Sanskrit will be useful but not necessary. Any reference to Sanskrit verses will be explained in English. Since it is a
11-week course, it will be difficult to go into detailed analysis of the commentaries of Acharyas on the Upanishads, Brahma sutras and the Bhagavadgita, known as the Prasthana-traya . A detailed explanation of these three views may take more than several hundred hours of lectures. However, relevant portions of these texts will be dealt with at an introductory level.

At the completion of this course, students will gain a greater clarity regarding common misconceptions held by many people, regarding these three perspectives. At the end of the course, one will be able to understand conceptually these three schools of thought at a reasonable level of depth. The focus is not on the scriptural texts such as Brahma Sutras, Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. However, the concepts will be explained and references to these scriptures will be given with some explanation as to how these acharyas come up with their school of thought. At the end in 2 or 3 lectures, concepts will be introduced to arrive at some form of reconciliation between these three schools: Advaita, Dvaita and Visistadvaita

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course students will be able to:

1. Distinguish the unique views and concepts of these three schools of thought.

2. Understand the implication of the differences between these schools of thought.

3. Relate the concepts to the scriptural texts : Brahma-sutras, Bhagavad-Gita and the Upanishads

4. Understand the references to the concepts in the major works of Acharyas of these schools of thought.

5. To understand some concepts to arrive at a reconciliation between these three schools of thought Advaita, Dvaita and Visistadvaita

While no prior knowledge of Sanskrit is required, it will definitely be helpful. Prior knowledge of the perspectives of anyone Acharya will also be valuable.

Class Structure

There will be a minimum of 1 contact hour with one or more faculty every week. The class is structured in a way that promotes discussion and debate based on self-study and reflection each week. While the content being discussed in each class will be concluded within 60 minutes, the discussion time will be free format and can continue for an additional 30 minutes maximum. During the course, students will be required to submit one short essay of around 1000 to 1500 words. They need not be academic quality papers – but should be based on students’ self-reflection on what they have learned and assimilated so far.

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Faculty / InstructorMr. Krishna Kashyap

Time: 8:30 pm EST – 10:00 pm EST

Day: Every Monday

Start Date: January 17, 2022

End Date: March 28, 2022

Quarter Offered: Winter 2022

Advanced Sanskrit – Grammatical Structures and Verses

Course Content

  1. The fifth declension / Ablative case for pronouns
  2. Introduction to Ayurveda
  3. The sixth declension / Genitive case, the ktavatu usage, gerunds
  4. Introduction to BhAgavatam
  5. Wise sayings and their meanings in Sanskrit
  6. The seventh declension / Locative case

Learning Objectives: In this course, students will be able to: 

  • Analyze noun and verb structures of verses and proverbs.
  • Recognize passages from popular Sanskrit texts; and
  • Paraphrase using grammatically correct Sanskrit.

Required / Elective: Required 

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies 

Program of Study:  Certificate Program in Sanskrit Proficiency (CP SP)

Prerequisites: Successful completion of SAN0303 

Faculty / Instructor: Sri Chandrashekhar Raghu , Smt. Brindha Aangarai Venkataraman

Start Date: April 12, 2022

End Date: June 14, 2022

Day: Tuesday

Time: 8:00 pm EST – 9:30 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Spring 2022

Advanced Sanskrit – Tenses, Moods, & Cases

Course Content:

  1. Imperative Mood
  2. 2nd vibhakti
  3. 7th vibhakti
  4. Future tense
  5. Past tense
  6. 6th vibhakti
  7. Numbers
  8. Wise sayings

Learning Objectives:

  1. Using different tenses, moods, and cases (2nd, 6th & 7th vibhakti)
  2. Using future and past tense in detail
  3. Using larger numbers
  4. Reading, writing, and comprehending longer stories, essays, verses, etc.

Required / Elective: Required 

Program of Study: Certificate Program in Sanskrit Proficiency

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Prerequisites: Successful completion of Beginner phase (SAN0204)

Faculty / Instructor: Sri Srinath Chakravarty 

Quarter Offered: Summer 2022

Start Date:

End Date:

Day:

Time:

Advanced Sanskrit- Conjugates, Voices & Sanskrit Literature

Course Content

  1. 4 types of sandhis (svara-sandhi, guNa-sandhi, vRuddhi-sandhi, and yaN-sandhi)
  2. Prose order (anvaya-krama)
  3. Atmanepada verbs
  4. karmaNi-prayoga (Passive voice)
  5. bhAve-prayoga (Impersonal voice)
  6. “kta” usage
  7. Introduction to 4 great poets of Sanskrit literature (vAlmeeki, vyAsa, mAgha, and kAlidAsa)

Learning Objectives: In this course, students will be able to: 

  • Distinguish some of the basic types of conjugates.
  • Express sentences in different voices and verb endings.
  • Capture the essence of the biographies of great poets; and
  • Practice their skills at writing simple stories and essays.

Required / Elective: Required 

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Program of Study: Certificate Program in Sanskrit Proficiency (CP SP)

Prerequisites: Successful completion of SAN 2001/SAN0401 

Faculty / Instructor: Sri Srinath Chakravarty  

Start Date:  January 11, 2022

End Date:  March 27, 2022

Day: Every Tuesday

Time: Tuesday – 08: 30 pm EST – 10:00 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Winter 2022

Antaranga Yoga

Learning Outcome:-

  1. Awaken the archetypal characters from the Mahabharata in one’s own life through dialogue and reflective activities
  2. Develop greater insights into one’s own psyche and patterns of the mind through an experiential engagement with the Mahabharata
  3. Experience yoga as an integral science beyond postures (asanas) or breathing techniques (pranayama).
  4. To develop the sakhi bhava (friendliness) and sakshi bhava (meditative listening) to be able to listen to our own self and the others from a deeper space
  5. To evoke healing processes within oneself

In this course, we explore our psyche using stories of characters from the Mahabharata, with an aim to bring clarity and meaning in our life. This 11-week course requires a pre-work of reading select stories from the Mahabharata and writing reflections before attending each session.

This course is not a didactic course on Mahabharata but enables one to delve into one’s psyche using the Mahabharata as a mirror into one’s mental processes. The course is dialogic and calls for a willingness to be self-reflective, share of oneself, and listen to others sensitively. This course is not recommended for anyone who is going through treatment for any psychological illness.

Required/Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission to the program of study

Faculty/Instructor: Sri Raghu Ananthanarayanan

Area of Study:- Yoga Studies

Start Date:- July 13, 2022

End Date:- September 21, 2022

Day:- Wednesday

Time:- 10:00 pm EST – 11:30 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Summer 2022

Applied Vedic Science – Advanced (Jyotisha)

Course Content:

This course provides an introduction to basic mathematical operations, the Indian way, through the text named Līlāvatī.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the methodology and approach of theorizing and calculating in the Indic system of mathematics.

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: 

1) The medium of Instruction is Sanskrit

2)Only currently enrolled Sanskrit master’s certificate students can register for these courses. (MIT-SVS)

3) Admission into Master Program in Sanskrit through MIT-SVS

4) Completed previous MA Sanskrit Course – Basic (Jyotisha)

Quarter Offered:  Winter 2023

Applied Vedic Science – Basic (Āyurveda)

Course Content:

This course provides a survey of the science and practice of Ayurveda, through an overview of the key texts and contributions in the discipline. The concept of wellbeing, and not merely medication, that is central to Āyurveda is elucidated in the course.

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the major contributors and their writings and commentaries that built up the applied science and knowledge system of Āyurveda.
  2. Assimilate the role and relevance of Āyurveda as a science of wellbeing.
  3. Recognize the different schools of Āyurveda based on their theories.

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites:  Completion of 12 Credit-Hours of Course work in the MA in Sanskrit / Masters’ Certificate in Sanskrit

Quarter Offered: Fall Quarter

Beginning Sanskrit – Sentences & Comprehension

Course Structure 

This course is structured in the form of one Quarter (10 weeks, 1.5 hours per week). Students will take an exam at the end of the course during the 11th week. Structured innovatively using the curriculum and textbooks designed by Samskrita Bharati USA (SBusa.org), the course will be based upon material contained in the SB – USA – published books, “PRAPADYA” augmented with other appropriate course content.

This course is structured to allow a beginner level student to start listening, writing, and reading the DevanAgari Script through a streamlined set of exercises.

Learning Objectives:

  1. More exposure to combined letters (samyukta-akSharANi) 
  2. Engage in simple reading and conversation 
  3. Combine words and phrases for short narratives 

Course Contents:

  1. Combination Letters
  2. Knowing the parts of speech
  3. Learning to read the clock in samskritam
  4. Simple sentences, stories, and conversations
  5. subhAShitAni (wise-sayings)
  6. The three different puruSha (persons) & linga (genders)

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Program of Study: Certificate Program in Sanskrit Proficiency (CP SP) 

Prerequisites: Successful completion of SAN0102

Faculty / Instructor:  Sri Chandrasekar Raghu , Smt. Pallavi Amin

Quarter Offered: Summer 2022

Start Date: July 17, 2022

End Date: September 17, 2022

Day: Sunday

Time: 11:00 am EST – 12:30 pm EST

Beginning Sanskrit – Words & Vocabulary

Course Structure 

This course is structured in the form of one Quarter (10 weeks, 1.5 hours per week). Students will take an exam at the end of the course during the 11th week. Structured innovatively using the curriculum and textbooks designed by Samskrita Bharati USA (SBusa.org), the course will be based upon material contained in the SB – USA – published books, “SAARINEE”, augmented with other appropriate course content.

This course is structured to allow a beginner level student to start listening, writing, and reading the DevanAgari Script through a streamlined set of exercises.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Refresh the origin of various sounds in Sanskrit. Pronouncing and writing the Sanskrit alphabets that are single letters, both vowels, and consonants.
  2. Pronouncing and writing the Sanskrit combination letters and using them in forming words.
  3. Reciting simple Sanskrit verses with the correct pronunciation. Reading and writing simple prose passages in Devanagari and building basic vocabulary.

Course Contents:

  1. Vowels & Consonants
  2. Songs
  3. Numbers
  4. Use of two and three letter combinations
  5. Expanding the vocabulary through nouns, pronouns, and verbs
  6. Reading exercises
  7. Daily routine shlokas (dinacharyA)

Area of Study: Sanskrit Studies

Program of Study: Certificate Program in Beginner Sanskrit

Prerequisites: Successful completion of SAN0101

Faculty / Instructor: Sri Chandrasekar Raghu ,  Mrs. Pallavi Amin

Quarter Offered: Spring 2022

Start Date: April 10, 2022

End Date: June 19, 2022

Day: Every Sunday

Time: 11:00 am EST – 12:30 pm EST

Bhagavad-Gita for Teens and Parents

Course Content:

The course explores the wisdom of Bhagavad-Gita under 3 dimensions of human life. In today’s world we often see things with super specialized knowledge and have a fragmented view of the human life. Multiple streams of science and technology, diverse views of history and culture further divide our understanding of life. This course presents life in big picture with holistic view of body, mind and soul using key versus of Bhagavad-Gita.
DEHA module presents the Material and Psychic aspects of the human body in 6 lessons based on Shrimad Bhagavad-Gita. It highlights the principles of Sound Body; for attaining comprehensive wellness. First three lessons describe the elements of nature followed by the characteristics of the human body and mind. Next three lessons describe the sensory objects followed by the ways of controlling the senses and the consequences of sense gratification. In this module the participants shall learn the following. The basis of human existence on earth. The three kinds of food and their influence on the human body. The three main characteristics of the human mind. The two broad ways of conducting life in the material world. The characteristics of a balanced consciousness. The cause and effect of mental stress.
GNANA module presents the Physical, Social, Occupational, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual dimensions of the eternal wisdom from Shrimad Bhagavad-Gita. It highlights the principles of Sound Mind for attaining comprehensive wellness. First three dimensions describe the aspects of human endeavor in the material world. Next three dimensions describe the aspects of human evolution in the psychic world. In this module the participants shall learn the following. The three types of actions and the fruits of such actions. The four-fold social order on the basis of human character and action. The three types of people based on their actions and determination. Austerities of mind and the three types of minds. Factors of emotional equilibrium. The four forms of worship and three kinds of worshippers.
YOGA module presents the basis of the Atma and the four paths of spiritual practice as prescribed in Shrimad Bhagavad-Gita. It highlights the principles of Pure Soul for attaining comprehensive wellness. Union with self is Yoga and the four paths of Yoga are Karma, Gnana, Dhyana and Bhakti. Karma yoga describes the path of action, Gnana yoga describes the path of knowledge, Dhyana yoga describes the path of meditation and Bhakti yoga describes the path of devotion in the pursuit of union with divine. In this module the participants shall learn the following. The doctrine of rebirth and reincarnation. The law of Karma and its five factors. The principle of Gnana and its components. The process of Dhyana and its essentials. The practice of Bhakti and its methods.

Course Description:

The Bhagavad-Gita for Teens and Parents is designed to encourage both teenagers and their parents (or their grandparents) to explore the Bhagavad Gita together. It will create new conversational spaces for families, which are interested in learning together, across the generations. The course will help participants to memorize, understand and apply the divine wisdom of Bhagavad-Gita. The participants can get an overview of Hindu Dharma and enrich their personality along multiple dimensions including the spiritual. This course is delivered using Active, Interactive and Collaborative models. It offers guided practice of shlokas followed by interactive discussion of their meaning. The course material for active learning is available in multiple languages. The interactive sessions are conducted online in English.

Class Structure:
There will be a minimum of 3 contact hours with faculty every week. The class is structured in a way that promotes discussion and debate based on self-study and reflection each week. After the weekly class the students will be required to submit audio recordings of verses.

Course Learning Objectives:
In this course students will be able to:
1)Practice accurate pronunciation of the shlokas through guided chanting.
2)Explore the Intersemiotic translation of key versus of Bhagavad-Gita.
3)Gain a deeper understanding of the Bhagavad Gita through graphic illustrations.
4)Discover the foundations of Hindu Dharma from the Bhagavad-Gita
5)Gain an overview of the Hindu Wisdom, and Hindu Pathways for spiritual growth.
6)Purchasable Readings before the Course:

Readings:
Transliteration text books and guided audios from www.GitaVidya.org

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into program of study

Faculty / InstructorMr. Gopi V. Prasad

USA Batch-

Time: 11:00 am EST – 12:30 pm EST

Day: Tuesday and Saturday

Start Date: July 16, 2022

End Date: August 23, 2022

ANZ Batch-

Time: 3:30 pm AEST – 6:00 pm AEST / 1:30 am EST – 03:00 am EST (11.00am IST to 12.30pm IST)

Day: Tuesday and Saturday

Start Date: July 16, 2022

End Date: August 23, 2022

Quarter Offered: Summer 2022

Discover the contemporary Relevance of Hindu Dharma

Course content:

The Vedic Hindu paradigm (or cosmology) represents an alternative to the Western paradigm. The paradigm of Western thought is centered on the idea of linear progress in time, that relentlessly renders tradition, and the thought of prior generations obsolete. It presents itself in opposition to tradition, on the principle that whatever value traditions might have had for humanity in the past, they have been decisively superseded by the progress of thought. The Vedic Hindu paradigm presents itself as timeless i.e., that it encapsulates principles, values and ideas that do not age with time, and become relevant again and again, in every age and era, and even for all of humanity. The ground covered by this course will include a subset of the following themes, as selected through a democratic process by the students themselves:

  1. Purushartha – Living a whole, complete, and fulfilled life
  2. Ashrama Dharma – The Stages of a human life
  3. The Wheel of Samsara – Karma, Janma and Reincarnation
  4. Oneness and Identity – the conclusions of Vedanta
  5. Dharma versus Religion – A Categorial misalignment
  6. The Hindu concept of Brahman, and its unfolding into Purusha and Prakriti
  7. The transcendental and the Material worlds – in Hindu Dharma
  8. The Scope of the Vedas – Vedic Teachings about Teaching the Vedas
  9. Moksha, Freedom and Salvation – A comparative inquiry
  10. Yoga – A means for self-transformation
  11. Sanatana – Timelessness versus Historicism – The place of Hindu Dharma in world religion
  12. Cyclic Time versus Linear History – The central cosmological difference
  13. From the Vedas to NASA – Astronomy and Time and the antiquity of Hindu culture
  14. Avatars, Rishis, Yogis, Gurus and Acharyas – the continuously unfolding revelation
  15. People of the Book versus People of a Library
  16. Teaching Dharma versus Preaching and Proselytization
  17. Sanskrit – The mother of the World’s Languages
  18. The centrality of the Bhagavad Gita – the dialog between Krishna and Arjuna
  19. Speaking about the Epics – The Ramayana and the Mahabharata
  20. One God, Many Gods, Father God, Mother God, Angry God, and Friendly God
  21. Murti, Deity or Idol – Explaining worship through images
  22. Diversity, Plurality, Democracy and Hindu Culture
  23. The three Gunas – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas – the basis for good and evil
  24. The three Doshas – Ayurveda and the interface to material nature
  25. Hindu Dharma, Holy Cows, and global Ecology and Sustainability
  26. Modernity according to the Hindu sages of yore
  27. Ahimsa – Non-violence and Vegetarianism in Hindu Dharma
  28. Jyotisha – Explaining Vedic Astrology to the uninitiated
  29. Darshana – Ways of understanding the Cosmos
  30. The Vedic Cosmology and the Dharma Traditions – Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism
  31. Progressivism and Historicism – Chronological Snobbery
  32. Colonization, Colonial Consciousness and Postcoloniality
  33. Who were the real Pagans? The world before Monotheism.
  34. Varna, Jati, and Caste – A clash of incommensurable paradigms
  35. The Guna, Karma paradigm of Varna and Jati
  36. The Aryan Race and the Racial Paradigm of Caste

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Vote and determine which themes from this list are of interest for them
  2. Discover the timeless and immediate relevance of Hindu Dharma for themselves
  3. Distinguish the paradigm of Hindu Cosmology from the Western paradigm
  4. Deepen and broaden their knowledge and understanding of Hindu Dharma
  5. Learn to communicate about Hindu Dharma to diverse groups with confidence
  6. Build the skills required to become an Ambassador of Hindu Dharma in time

Class Structure:

There will be a minimum of 2 contact hours with the faculty every week for 10 weeks. The class is structured in a way that promotes discussion and debate based on self-study and reflection each week. While the content being discussed in each class will be concluded within 120 minutes, the discussion time will be free format and can continue for an additional 60 minutes.

During the course, students will be required to submit one short essay and/or make one class presentation. They need not be academic quality papers – but should be based on students’ self-reflection on what they have learnt and assimilated so far.

Required/Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Faculty/InstructorShri Jeffrey Armstrong and Kalyan Viswanathan

Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundations

Program of Study: Community Education Program (CEP), Certificate Program in Hindu Studies (CPHS) 

Time: 05:00 pm EST – 07:00 pm EST

Start Date: 17th July 2021

End Date: 18th September 2021

Day: Every Saturday with one exception – the class will be on Sunday, July 25th 2021, instead of July 24th.

Quarter Offered: Summer 2021

Exploring Hinduism for Teens and Parents

Who is a Hindu? Why are they called a Hindus? Who started the Hindu “religion”? When did it start? What makes Hinduism different? Is being a Hindu relevant in today’s world? Answers to such questions and more await the students in this course.

Course content: This course involves approximately 20 sessions of  90 minutes each delivered in one quarter. These sessions will cover a variety of topics and themes, such as: 

  1. Hindu Geography – The land of the Hindus
  2. Hindu History – How ancient is Hinduism really?
  3. The Ramayana – Historical Figure or Mythical Hero
  4. The Mahabharata – Did the Kurukshetra war actually happen?
  5. The Spread of Hindu thought and ideas around the world
  6. Hindu conception of Divinity – Understanding Gods and Goddesses
  7. Hindu conception of Divinity – Consciousness and Matter
  8. Hindu symbolism – Representing the Divine
  9. Hindu conception of Divinity – Male and Female divinities
  10. Hindu Sampradaya and Parampara – Rishi, Guru, Yogi, Acharya
  11. Hindu Cosmology and Astronomy – Jyotisha
  12. Hindu Timekeeping and Calendar – Panchanga
  13. Hindu accomplishments and contributions to the world
  14. The Hindu worldview and lifestyle – The emphasis on spirituality
  15. The Hindu Social System – Varna, Jati and the so-called Caste system
  16. Women in Hindu Society – Breaking some myths
  17. Invasions and Colonization
  18. India’s Freedom Struggle
  19. Hindu Ethos
  20. Hindu Life today – Being happy, healthy, organic and responsible

This course can be taken as the inaugural course of a whole series titled “Exploring Hinduism – The Overview”, or as a stand-alone course. It can be enjoyed by teenagers in the age group 12-18, on their own or together with their parents. Alternatively, parents who have teens may also benefit from this course. 

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course students will be able to: 

  1. Develop a deeper understanding of history, culture, and traditions of Hinduism
  2. Discover the various ways in which Hindus conceptualize and relate to the Divine
  3. Examine the wisdom of ancient Hindu traditions in the light of contemporary life
  4. Revisit and Clarify certain pervasive myths that are prevalent regarding Hinduism 
  5. Recognize the place of Hinduism in the world and its contribution to humanity
  6. Discover new conversational spaces within the family unexplored so far 
  7. Learn to describe and talk about Hindu ideas and thought with others . 

Area of Study: Hindu Studies Foundation

Required/ Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: None

Instructor: Dr. D.K. Hema Hari & Dr. D. K. Hari

Quarter Offered: Summer 2021 (US Summer time)

USA Batch –

Days : Monday, Wednesday and Saturday

Time : 9:30 pm EST – 11:00 pm EST

Start Date: July 12,2021

End Date: August 25, 2021

Australia and New Zealand Batch –

Days: Saturday and Sunday

 Time: 06:00 pm AEST – 07:30 pm AEST

 Start Date: 17th July 2021

 End Date: 12th September 2021

Hinduism and Conflict Resolution

Course Description:

The course explores Hindu ideas and their relevance for conflict resolution. Though there is a vast literature on conflict and peace studies, the Hindu ideas are seldom factored in the mainstream discourse. The course aims to fill this critical gap while dispelling myths about Hindu ideas on conflict resolution. A closer examination reveals that Hindu thought from the very ancient period dealt with conflict at multiple levels and explored pathways for their transformation. A hallmark of the Hindu thought is its spiritual approach to conflict and its emphasis on the interlinkage of conflicts at various spheres including psychological, social, cultural, political, and economic. Whether it was the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra or Pitamaha Bhishma’s advice at the end of the Mahabharata war or Kautilya’s famous exhortation to Indians to unite against invading Greeks, or Ashoka’s remorse during the Kalinga war or Gandhi’s struggle against the British rule, they reveal to us powerful ideas and their relevance for a discourse on conflict resolution and peacebuilding. While introducing students the core elements of the Hindu thought that focus on conflict and peace, the course explores their conflict resolution potentials. It encourages students to explore a complex and interesting subject, for example the India-Pakistan conflict or the India-China conflict, in their own way while drawing from the Hindu scriptures and philosophers.

Class Structure:

There will be contact hour with the faculty every week. The class is structured in a way that promotes discussion and debate based on self-study, research and writing assignments each week. At the end of the course, students will be required to submit a short essay. 

Course Learning Objectives: 

  1. Gain a broader understanding of Hindu thought and its problem-solving and conflict resolution dimensions. 
  2. View contemporary conflicts from a Hindu conflict resolution lens and explore the relevance of the Hindu perspective for the contemporary world. 
  3. Examine a contemporary conflict while drawing on the Hindu conflict resolution theories and practices.

Area of Study: Conflict and Peace Studies

Required / Elective: Elective

Prerequisites: Admission into a Program of Study

Faculty: Dr. Debidatta. A. Mahapatra

Day: Friday

Start Date: April 15, 2022

End Date: June 24, 2022

Time: 06:00 pm EST – 09:00 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Spring 2022

Holistic Yoga -Philosophy and Practice

Course Description:

Developed by the ancient Hindu sages in the Indian subcontinent, yoga is a psycho-somatic discipline with its roots going back over 5,000 years. The word “yoga” means “union” and hints at the final goal of yoga practice–to be in union with one’s true nature. This goal, which leads one on the path of optimal health and human wellness, can be achieved by following the practices developed as a part of an integrated and holistic system of yoga.

In this course, we will explore the concept of Pancha Kosha, the five sheaths of human personality as defined in yogic texts: Annamaya Kosha — the physical layer; Pranamaya Kosha — the vital layer; Manomaya Kosha — the emotional layer; Vijnanamaya Kosha — the intellectual layer; and finally the Anandamaya Kosha — the pure-consciousness layer of our existence.

Furthermore, we will study Sage Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga, popularly known as Ashtanga Yoga. These eight steps give a comprehensive and systematic approach to developing one’s mind. Ashtanga Yoga includes Yama (guidelines for ethical relationships), Niyama (guidelines for ethical personal living), Asana (postures for physical practice), Pranayama (controlled and deliberate breathing patterns), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the mind from distractions), Dharana (focus of the mind upon a goal), Dhyana (the expansion of the focused mind into everyday life), and Samadhi (Complete Absorption in Oneself).

Yoga is not just a practice of asana and meditation on the mat. While such a practice constitutes the practice of Raja Yoga, the other three disciplines that we include are: Karma Yoga — the yoga of detached action; Bhakti Yoga — the yoga of love, acceptance, and devotion; and Jnana Yoga — the yoga of contemplation and reflection, completing the holistic practice of yoga. By combining all four streams of yoga — Raja yoga, Karma yoga, Bhakti yoga, and Jnana yoga — one is able to achieve a state of peace, creativity, and fulfilment in life.

We will learn about each stream of yoga and delve deeply into Raja yoga, which focuses on disciplining the mind and body using yoga practices. This holistic yoga course contains guided physical yoga practices, lectures, discussions, and offline assignments.

Learning Outcome:

In this course students will be able to:

  • Learn basic yoga practices of breath-synchronized movements, asana, pranayama, and meditation.
  • Understand the scope and relevance of yoga philosophy and how to apply it to one’s daily life.
  • Apply yoga practices and concepts to manage their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
  • Gain clarity on the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita in relation to practicing yoga.
  • Explore the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga — yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and Samadhi.

Required/Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission to the program of study.

Faculty/Instructor:    Ashwini Surpur, Anil Surpur , Mr. N.V. Raghuraman ,

Area of Study:- Yoga Studies

Day:- Saturday and  Sunday

Start Date:- January 22, 2022

End Date:- February 6, 2022

Time:- Option 1: Sat and Sun – 7:00 am PST – 12:30pm PST (10am EST- 3.30pm EST)
             Option 2: Sat and Sun – 7:00 am EST- 9:00 am EST (followed by a break) and then 12.30 pm EST – 3.30 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Winter 2022

How Hindu Dharma Transformed America

Course content:

In rigorously exploring the history and influence of Hindu Dharma, the course will be organized mainly around the key disseminators who forged a vital connection between the ancient rishis and the modern West. First among those Vedic transmitters were the swamis, gurus, and yogacharyas who brought their gifts to the West, from the earliest (Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa Yogananda) to those who established a foothold in the 1960s and 70s (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Srila Prabhupada, Swami Muktananda, and others) to those teaching today (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Mata Amritanandamayi, Sadhguru, etc.) – as well as luminaries who strongly impacted America without ever coming here (Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, and others). We’ll examine both the diversity and commonalities of teachings that penetrated America’s spiritual soil, and show how the core principles were skillfully adapted to the language, values, and communication methods of the new cultural context—and the tradeoffs that were made in the process. The obstacles the ambassadors from India had to overcome—racism, religious bigotry, colonial assumptions, finances, etc.—will be discussed as well. Also covered will be the prominent Westerners who imbibed Vedic wisdom through gurus and/or texts, integrated what they learned into their personal lives and their areas of expertise, and ultimately disseminated what they valued most to vast numbers of people. This second-hand transmission was sometimes explicit and properly attributed, and at other times altered so much (in style if not substance) that the original source was either vague or entirely obscured. In that context, we’ll examine the contribution of philosophers and public intellectuals (from Emerson to Aldous Huxley to contemporary scholars); psychologists (William James, Carl Jung, Abraham Maslow); scientists (Nikola Tesla, Erwin Schrodinger); and artists, including novelists (Herman Hesse, J.D. Salinger), poets (W.B. Yeats, Allen Ginsberg), filmmakers (George Lucas), and musicians (the Beatles especially).  The course will also describe how Hindu Dharma has influenced certain Christian and Jewish leaders, leading to significant shifts in religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices. The course will conclude with a look at the future in light of recent phenomena such as the medical embrace of hatha yoga and meditation and the assimilation of Hindu citizens of Indian descent since 1965.

Course Learning Objectives:

In this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the profound impact of Hindu Dharma on American institutions, culture, and spirituality.
  2. Appreciate the remarkable achievements made by gurus, swamis, and yogacharyas in the face of challenges, obstacles, and resistance.
  3. Identify and evaluate the subtle (sometimes hidden) ways that Vedic principles changed American psychology, medicine, the arts, and religion.
  4. Distinguish between skillful adaptation and misappropriation in the Western embrace of Hindu Dharma.
  5. Discover the enormous breadth, variety, and depth of the Dharmic teachings that came to America.
  6. Learn about American history from different angles.
  7. Contemplate the future of Hinduism in America and how to safeguard the integrity of the ongoing adaptation to Western culture.

Class Structure

The class will meet once a week for up to 90 minutes. The teacher’s presentation, with the help of audio and video recordings, will last approximately 60 minutes. The remaining time will be devoted to questions and open discussion. There will be 10 such sessions followed by an additional session devoted to the presentation and discussion of student’s reflections regarding what they learned from the course and how they expect it will influence their lives.

Required/Elective: Elective

Area of Study: History & Methods

Prerequisites: None

Faculty/InstructorPhilip Goldberg

Start Date: October 12, 2021

End Date: December 21, 2021

Day: Every Tuesday

Time: 08:30 pm EST – 10:00 pm EST

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

Introduction to Bhagavadgita

Learning Outcome:-

  1. Gain a comprehensive and consistent overview of the Bhagavad Gita as both a moksha-shastra and a yoga-sastra.
  2. Understand the scope and relevance of the pursuits of knowledge and action in the Bhagavadgita.
  3. Be able to resolve paradoxes and seemingly competing viewpoints in the verses.
  4. Gain clarity on the meaning of moksa, karmayoga, bhakti, and meditation, in the Gita.
  5. Discern some of the paradigms that underlie various interpretations of the Gita.

The non-dual vision presented in the Gita has its origin in the Upanishads, where it is revealed through a teacher-student dialogue. Consistent with this, the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita are delivered through a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Unlike the Upanisads, the Gita discusses at length the participants in this dialogue. The Gita also goes much further than the Upanisads in expanding the discussion of the philosophical teachings, approaching them from a variety of perspectives, sometimes precipitated by a question from Arjuna. Its uniqueness, however, lies in its elaboration of the necessary conditions for understanding its core teaching, and the means, including Ashtanga Yoga, for creating those conditions.  Our inquiry into the vision of the Bhagavad Gita presented in this course is based on the commentary of Sankara, the principal exponent of non-duality, advaita. Sankara’s is the earliest extant commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, and arguably the most consistent, as will be demonstrated in the course of our study through an examination of paradoxical verses. As we proceed, we will also gain a clear understanding of the meaning of moksha, karma yoga, bhakti, and meditation, as presented in the Gita. And throughout the course, we will see, over the shoulders of Arjuna, the relevance of the teachings of the Gita to our lives today.

Required/Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission to the program of study/Must have completed Orientation to Hindu Studies or Concurrently enrolled in OTHS.

Faculty/Instructor: Swamini Agamananda Saraswati

Quarter Offered: Fall 2021

Area of Study:- Hindu Studies Foundation 

Start Date:- October 9, 2021

End Date:-  December 19, 2021

Day:- Saturday & Sunday

Time:- 03:00 pm EST – 04:30 pm EST